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When MOOD rhymes with ROAD

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Three experiments investigated whether perception of a spelling-to-sound inconsistent word such as MOOD involves coding of inappropriate phonology caused by knowledge of enemy neighbors (e.g., BLOOD) in non-native speakers. In a new bimodal matching task, Dutch-English bilinguals judged the correspondence between a printed English word and a speech segment that was or was not the printed word’s rime. Evidence for coding of inappropriate phonology was obtained with trials in which the speech segment was derived from an English enemy neighbor. In such trials, error rates increased significantly relative to control trials. This effect was also found when speech segments were derived from Dutch enemy neighbors, which suggests inappropriate coding of cross-language phonology. These findings are consistent with a strong phonological theory of word perception (Frost, 1998), in which phonological coding is essentially a language non-selective process.
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Keywords: bilingualism; phonology; second language; spelling-to-sound consistency; visual word perception

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: December 15, 2009

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